Monday, July 8, 2013

Dealing with Traffic Congestion in San Francisco

Driver fees could help combat gridlock(Will Reisman, San Francisco Examiner, May 19, 2013)  

Also discussed here: San Francisco Mobility, Access, and Pricing Study(63 page pdf, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 2010)
And here: Case Studies: Stockholm and London(2 page pdf, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 2010)

And here: Mobility, Access and Pricing Study | Myths vs. Facts(2 page pdf, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 2010)

Today we review a city report and press comments about congestion in San Francisco where commuters spend 61 hours each year. A number of recommendations have been made, including a $3/trip fee as part of a broader congestion pricing scheme, car-sharing, adding transit only lanes, etc., that would reduce traffic and congestion by 27%. Revenues from congestion charging program could yield up to $80 million each year which would then be used to improve mobility and transportation needs of the city. City Council gave a go-ahead to further study which is one step better than many other American and Canadian cities (such as Toronto and Ottawa) where road vehicles cause at least 50% of greenhouse gas emissions and health impacts from traffic-related pollution. A pilot project is the most favoured option (at 46%) and over 65 percent of travellers think San Francisco should explore congestion pricing, according to recent polls. sf congestion  
Key Quotes:

“the San Francisco metropolitan area was ranked as the second most congested region in the nation by the Texas Transportation Institute….Unless private automobile traffic is reduced by 27 percent over the next three decades, congestion levels in The City will be unmanageable, with vehicles stuck at a standstill and pedestrians and cyclists prone to increasingly dangerous conditions”

“implementing congestion pricing could cut deeply into that 27 percent figure: The report pegged the number at 10 to 15 percent. It also would generate tens of millions of dollars for other transit needs.”

 “Congestion fees are collected electronically with minimal equipment, obviating the need for traditional toll collection infrastructure and personnel. “

“increasing the use of employee shuttles can reduce congestion levels by about 1 to 3 percent in downtown San Francisco and an increase in car-sharing could lower traffic by another 3 to 5 percent….The authority has recommended adding more transit-only …. Installing bike paths, widening sidewalks and adding high-occupancy vehicle lanes to freeway on-ramps also could significantly cut back on congestion”

Electronic toll detectors would be placed at both major and minor arterials to minimize diversions. Plus, traffic calming measures and toll enforcement would further discourage drivers from cutting through adjacent neighborhoods.”
“key findings:
  • A congestion pricing program for San Francisco is technically feasible and would be effective in advancing San Francisco’s goals for transportation system management, GHG reduction, and sustainable economic growth. “
  • The Northeast Cordon program would provide $60 to 80 million in annual net revenue, which would be reinvested in the transportation system with special emphasis on enhancements to transit service.
  • A pilot implementation is a practical first step to demonstrate and eval­uate a comprehensive area-based pricing approach.”
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